COVID-19 – A legal update for the Real Estate Industry

COVID-19 – A legal update for the Real Estate Industry
Posted on 25 Mar 2020

Real Estate auctions, auction houses and open house inspections will cease from 12:00am on 26 March 2020 under a tough new crackdown from the national cabinet to combat the spread of COVID-19.  

On Tuesday evening, the Federal Government announced, as part of its continuing  response to Covid-19 new measures to facilitate the necessary social distancing and released the following Media Statement: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-24-March-2020

In an address to the Nation, the Prime Minister informed: “In the retail space, auction houses – gatherings together in auction rooms – they can no longer continue. The principle is clear. Large gatherings brought together by particular organized events are things we are seeking to avoid.”

In response to the media release, REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella says: ‘the Prime Minister’s announcement is not a total ban on real estate transactions from taking place as that would have a devastating impact on the Australian economy.’

Areas of the Real Estate Industry that remain unrestricted:

  • Private treaty sales in conjunction with one-on-one private inspections by appointment remain unrestricted.
  • As for public auctions, these can still occur via telephone bidding or by using one of the many Auction platforms available.
  • No other restrictions were announced for either property management or sales businesses, subject to other restrictions on physical distancing and hygiene.

Further Property Market Update: Rent Relief

Further changes to the property industry are yet to be determined. The Prime Minister announced that the National Cabinet will meet again this evening, with an announcement regarding the support measures for commercial and residential tenants struggle expected.

Cronin Miller Litigation will publish an update with respect to these changes once the Cabinet has reached a consensus. 

In the meantime, Real Estate Agents and Agency Principals are urged to consider:

  • their current, fixed costs and expenses (rent, license fees, insurances, employment expenses, etc.);
  • impending settlement dates and payment of commission entitlements;
  • how best they can maintain control over current debtors;
  • seek legal and financial advice immediately.

We are here to help

The team at Cronin Miller Litigation is committed to local business and supporting our community. In that regard, we are in a position to provide you with a free consultation with a view to supporting local business and Agents that are challenged at this time.

Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will arrange telephone or video-conferencing facilities to deliver that service to you.

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